ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – With a bag in hand, arrest paperwork identifies this coral kleptomaniac as 39-year-old Teng Lin.
Over and over again, from several cameras at A&R Aquarium on Bay Pines Boulevard in unincorporated St. Petersburg, Lin is seen plunging his hand into fish tanks to steal coral.
“To see how often he got in our tanks without us noticing was awful,” said co-owner Lisa Martin.
Martin and her husband Adam Lewis opened the store three months ago. They’d seen Lin in the store before.
“We never thought that he was stealing or anything like that. So to find these piece missing and find him at the door was great thing,” said Martin.
Adam Lewis confronted Teng Lin in the parking lot just outside the front door.
“At first he handed over the empty bag. And then he was a little hesitant on handing over the other one but when he finally did, we opened it up. The clam and some other items were inside,” said Lewis.
Lewis said he was willing to let things slide if Lin gave up the rest of what he took.
“He chose to say he didn’t have any more when he actually did,” said Lewis.
Next came, “let’s make a deal,” with Martin saying Lin offered four $100 bills to pay for the stolen coral.
That didn’t even pay for the clam.
Cops soon arrived and arrested Lin.
“He seemed to be quite the professional,” said Lewis.
Lin lives large in a $500,000 home overlooking the Seminole Lake Country Club.
“It actually is a great thing that we caught him and we’re definitely excited about that ’cause he won’t be back in our stores,” said Martin.
Buying and selling coral requires a special license. It’s unclear what Lin planned to do with it.
He’s out of jail on a charge of grand theft.
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